No US unilateral anti-terror action in Pakistan despite Trump's hostile tweets

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2018

But it said the U.S. military was in "continuous communication" with Pakistan's military, to include recurring conversations between Votel and Bajwa.

In the weeks since the Trump administration withheld almost $1 billion in security aid for Pakistan, Washington and Islamabad officials have been working to patch things up and avert a unsafe deterioration in their often troubled relationship.

"Entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed over recent U.S. statements despite decades of cooperation".

Col. John Thomas, U.S. Central Command spokesman, said officials are in continuous communication with Pakistan's military, including conversations between Votel and Bajwa.

A top American general has told Pakistan's army chief the USA military does not intend to conduct any unilateral strikes inside the country and both sides emphasized the need for continued cooperation to fight terrorism, an official announcement said Friday.

The US officials were also apprised of Pakistan's moves to strengthen border controls unilaterally "but if Afghanistan genuinely feels affected from Pakistan, bilateral border management must be Kabul's top priority as well".

Tension between the United States and Pakistan has grown over U.S. complaints that the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network that target American troops in Afghanistan are allowed to take shelter on Pakistani soil.

The move, first announced by Trump in a New Year's Day tweet, sparked indignation in Pakistan, which has long denied the USA accusations of militant support, and accused Washington of dismissing the sacrifices it has made in the war on extremism.

Trump accused Pakistan of doing nothing to assist in the USA -led war effort in neighboring Afghanistan and of failing to crack down on militants that attack US and Afghan forces across the border.

"Pakistan is fully aware of U.S. concerns on activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and we are already undertaking multiple actions through Operation Raddul Fasaad to deny any residual capacity to terrorists of all hue and colour for which return of Afghan refugees is an essential prerequisite", Gen Bajwa was quoted as having told Gen Votel. These included that "the problems in ties were temporary, there would be no unilateral action against Pakistan and that the United States did not want a disruption in ties rather it wanted cooperation from Islamabad on areas of its concern".

Officials said the administration had frozen payments from the "coalition support fund" set aside to reimburse Pakistani spending on counter-terror operations, worth $900 million.

According to VOA, a US Central Command spokesman confirmed Votel's contact with Bajwa.

The Pakistani assertion that Votel said no unilateral action inside Pakistan was being considered may have referred to the possibility of cross-border U.S. drone strikes and other military missions targeting Taliban and other militant figures outside the border area. "We value mutual understanding of interests and concerns that we need to consider that might lead to a positive path forward". There has been speculation the US military might undertake drone strikes deep inside Pakistan to target suspected hideouts of the Taliban and the allied Haqqani network.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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